Children at refugee camp in Liberia

Nonprofit Spotlight: Help Refugees with the Blue Key Campaign

On occasion, we like to take a break from our regular content to highlight a worthy cause outside of our normal discussions of business and customer service.

Children at refugee camp in LiberiaThis Nonprofit Spotlight is dedicated to the Blue Key Campaign, which is a “U.S. based initiative to channel the energy of individual citizens to speak out for refugees.

The campaign aims to provide a broadened base of support for the leading organization safeguarding the rights and well-being of displaced people around the world — the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).”


So, Why the Blue Key Campaign?

I discovered Blue Key from the efforts of my friend Shonali Burke whose PR agency represents the Blue Key Campaign, and I am now honored to call myself a Blue Key Champion.

The Blue Key Campaign seeks to help alleviate some of the suffering associated with the global refugee crisis, a crisis that most of us rarely hear about unless there is a natural disaster or large-scale conflict. Here is a little about the Blue Key Campaign from their site:

“In December 2011, UNHCR will commemorate 60 years of working to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees and internally displaced people. 

Our goal is for 6,000 U.S. residents – thoughtful, caring people like you — to get a Blue Key. By doing so, you’ll tell the millions of refugees worldwide that they’re not invisible, and our staff that their live-saving work does not go unnoticed.


Who is a Refugee?

Joseph Stalin once opined that “A single death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic.” If true, this quote comes directly from the mouth of a monster who embraced its message to nightmarish effect.

While Stalin is long gone, there are scores of monsters across the world who recreate his legacy of pain and cruelty every day. They operate in the shadows of places many of us have not heard of, dark corners of the globe that are a thousand miles away from the Real Housewives, high speed Internet, and venti soy lattes. Places, quite frankly, most Westerners don’t even want to think about.

And while the statistics are sobering, they do not move us. What resonates more are the personal tales of those who have suffered. And I would like to share just one of those tales with you.

Below is the story of Scisa Rumenge of the Congo. Of the many heartrending stories UNHCR has on its YouTube channel, I found Scisa’s story to be particularly powerful. Please take the time to watch Scisa’s story and then check in at the end of the post to see how you can double your contribution to this important cause.

Scisa’s story is unique, but sadly, not uncommon. It is retold every day, thousands of times; every year, millions.

I know it is hard to believe that $5 and five minutes of your time will do anything in the face of such immense suffering. It is a natural feeling, but whenever I begin to feel that way, I try to remember the classic parable of the starfish:

A man was walking along a deserted beach at sunset. As he walked, he could see a young boy in the distance. As he drew nearer he noticed that the boy kept bending down, picking something up and throwing it into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things into the ocean.

As the man drew closer, he was able to see that the boy was picking up starfish that had washed up on the beach and, one at a time, was throwing them back.

The man asked the boy what he was doing, and the boy replied,”I am throwing these starfish back into the ocean, or else they will die.”

“But,” said the man, “You can’t possibly save them all, there are thousands on this beach, and this must be happening all along the coast. You can’t possibly make a difference.”

The boy smiled, picked up another starfish, and threw it back into the sea. “I made a difference to that one!”


Please take 5 minutes to get your Blue Key now and make a difference in the life of someone less fortunate.


And if you buy your key within the next 48 hours, you have the chance to double your contribution…

Double Your Impact

For the first 25 Blue Keys purchased in the next 48 hours, we will double the amount by purchasing a matching Blue Key.


The counter above reads 3,528 as of the time of publication. We will match the first 25 keys sold between now and 8:30am EST on Friday, whether sold through this blog or not.

So, please… take five minutes now and purchase a $5 key (or more) to help those who need help most. You’ll feel better knowing you did. (*Note: Changes were made to the original text of this post to clarify that, technically, a $5 Blue Key is considered a purchase, not a donation.)


Please share your thoughts on the refugee crisis, Scisa’s story, and the Blue Key campaign in the comments below.



By Adam Toporek. Adam Toporek is an internationally recognized customer service expert, keynote speaker, and workshop leader. He is the author of Be Your Customer's Hero: Real-World Tips & Techniques for the Service Front Lines (2015), as well as the founder of the popular Customers That Stick® blog and co-host of the Crack the Customer Code podcast.

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